Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Week 4: A Family Member

Family means a great deal to me. I have a pretty small family, but married into a lovely, hysterical, and large family! My husbands family is fantastic.

My family, by blood, chosen, and married into, are seriously awesome. I love all of them! But the one I will be telling you about today is my amazingly, awesome, dearly missed, sweet, Godly Nannie.

Nannie Dearest

My Nannie. She was the absolute best person I have been lucky enough to know. So, let's take it from the beginning;

Growing Up in West Virginia

Born Janet Lee Mahan, that we lovingly called Nannie, she was the oldest of (I believe) 6 kids. She grew up in a shack of a house in the backwoods of West Virginia. Her mother wasn't a very present mom, and her dad was, apparently, married to a heinous woman. They called her "Evil Stella". She played mom to her younger siblings, and made sure they had everything they needed to go to school and to eat. Once she graduated high school she moved on to bigger and better things.

Virginia is for Lovers

At the age of 18 she moved to Virginia, where she met my mothers dad, Ronnie. They married and had my mom when my Nannie was just 20. With her high school education she was hired as a secretary at the Pentagon! I mean, think about that now. You wouldn't get onto Pentagon grounds without a college degree, and she only had her high school diploma from a tiny town in West Virginia.

Her and my Grandpa Ronnie divorced when my mom was around 10, and then, eventually, my Nannie remarried my now Popaw, who is an amazing guy. Unfortunately, my mothers dad passed away when she was about 20.

Meanwhile, my Nannie was busy at the Pentagon getting promoted!

Fast forward a bunch of years, my Popaw adopted my mom at the age of 24, my mom was married, moved to California, and had my older sister. She then came back to Virginia, where she had the rest of us, myself, Emily, and Joey. But while Joey was a baby, we found out my Nannie had breast cancer.

She retired from the Pentagon with the highest security clearance you can have. She retired because she found out she had the cancer. Her job was very secret, but from what I can piece together about her position was she was a head of a department that followed and made sure what countries had what parts that can become bombs, or any kind of thing that would be a threat to another country.

How AMAZING?! She grew up in the backwoods, no bathroom in the house, no air conditioning, no real mother figure, only her high school diploma, and she achieved all that!

She had a mastectomy. She was clear of cancer.

Retired to Florida

In 1998 my Nannie, her brother, and their spouses (my Aunt Terry, and my Popaw) decided to move down to Florida, because that's what is cool I guess.

And in 2000 we moved down to be with them. But then came the lung cancer diagnosis. Yup, this amazing woman, who already beat breast cancer, was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Thankfully another round of chemo and radiation, and the cancer was gone.

We would go over to my Nannies house almost every weekend. We had so much fun hanging out with my Nannie and Popaw. They would make us pancakes, and we would swim in the pool almost all weekend.

Then we grew up, and stopped going to their house every weekend. But, we definitely made time for them. We would go to Sunday dinner at their house and we always had Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve at their house. We would sing "Build Me Up Buttercup" to my Nannie and talk about poop at the dinner table.

Then in 2008, going in for her cancer scan, they found more cancer.

Stage 4. Lung Cancer.

Hearing your idol, your biggest fan, the biggest fighter you know with the kindest heart, say and actually come to grasp with the fact that this disease will inevidably take their precious life.

April 10, 2009

My moms birthday. We got the call that she had passed on to Heaven, because only the best, like her, get to go to Heaven. I woke up to my mom, sitting on the couch, and I just knew. My heart sunk. I couldn't see, and I swear I can't remember the rest of the afternoon. We had to deal with all the details with the funeral and stuff. Oh gosh, what an awful day.

Loss is never easy, and quite frankly it down-right SUCKS. I still think about her every day. I see her in my girls. She would love them so much, and she would be so happy to spoil them rotten.

Well, I think I'm done being depressing. Haha.

Love you guys!

Who is someone in your family who you admire? I'd love to hear.

Caitie B

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